Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Academic labor can at times seem lonely, irrelevant, or an exercise in being counted. But on most days, the opportunity to explore a topic deeply over time is an immense privilege, for which I am grateful. Foremost, I want to acknowledge the radio activists who are the subject of this book. They...

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Introduction

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pp. ix-xxvi

On October 4, 1998, a raucous group of protesters assembled in front of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) building in Washington, DC. Seeking legal access to the airwaves for small-scale broadcasting by citizens and community groups, they engaged in established street theater tactics...

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1. Pirates, Hams, and Protest: Radio Activism in Historical Context

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pp. 1-20

One year after the mass actions in protest against the World Trade Organization’s meetings in Seattle in 1999, Philadelphia braced to host the Republican National Convention (RNC) in August 2000. In anticipation, activists formed an independent media center on an ad hoc basis. Independent...

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2. Selfhoods: Geeks, Activists, and Countercultures

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pp. 21-52

One Sunday evening in April 2005, in the fading light of a glorious sunny day, one hundred people sat on folding chairs facing a makeshift stage in a small town just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. A new LPFM station was signing on for the first time. With equal parts joy and catharsis, its founders...

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3. The Tools of Gender Production

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pp. 53-68

One afternoon at the Tennessee barnraising, an older electrician approached me and began to apologize for making me cry. This was puzzling to me, because I had not interacted with him at any point. I looked at him quizzically, and he quickly realized his error: he had mistaken me for another...

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4. The Work of Pedagogy in Technological Activism

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pp. 69-90

At the end of a sunny weekend, activists and volunteers banded together to move two enormous refrigerator-sized FM transmitters into storage. After much hand-wringing about where the transmitters might fit, they were designated to be housed in a warehouse art space a couple of miles from the...

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5. Fine-Tuning Boundaries

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pp. 91-128

In summer 2005, attendees of the National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR) in St. Louis held an impromptu demonstration decrying the fact that Democracy Now!—a Pacifica news program featuring journalist Amy Goodman—was not carried by any St. Louis broadcasters. They walked...

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6. Making Old Technology Anew: Reinventing FM Radio in the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 129-160

In 2006, Prometheus held a barnraising with a farmworkers’ union in Oregon. Founded in the 1980s, the union represented tree planters and farmworkers, and was Oregon’s largest Latino organization.¹ Throughout the barnraising weekend, activists and union organizers stressed the potential...

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7. Do New Media Have Old Politics?

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pp. 161-184

Reflecting on the earliest organizing he had done around LPFM, a Prometheus organizer cited Mbanna Kantako. Kantako was an early hero of the micro-broadcasting movement who had broadcasted without a license from a public housing project in Springfield, Illinois, in the 1980s. He...

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Conclusion

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pp. 185-194

After a decade of advocacy, LPFM’s proponents celebrated a victory. Congress at last passed the legislation they had pursued since 2000, and President Obama signed the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 into law. This law vastly expanded LPFM, allowing up to a thousand new small-scale, independent...

Notes

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pp. 195-234

Bibliography

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pp. 235-258

Index

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pp. 259-271